28 Jun 2017
11:48 am

A 25-year-old American tourist was critically injured after he fell off the cliff in Ao Railay Bay in Krabi province yesterday.

The tourist was identified as Mr Eduardo Keane.

He is still in critical condition at the ICU ward of Krabi Hospital after suffering serious injuries on the face, chin and nose.

He became the third tourist to fall off the cliff at the Ao Railay vintage point this month after two tourists fell off cliff at Ao Railay beach on June 13.

It was not immediately known how the incident happened as there is warning sign in the area not to come close to the cliff near the vintage point.

 

28 Jun 2017
11:27 am

Soldiers and local administration officials yesterday questioned a former abbot of a temple in Phraphrom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat after residents complained that the temple used it’s land to construct housing project for the poor.

Such business project is not the temple affairs and they suspected personal benefits might be involved.

The complaint was lodged with the Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial office of the Monk Dean which oversees all temples in the province.

The team of soldiers made their way to the Wat Cherng Trae temple in Phraphrom district in Nakhon Si Thammarat province after they received a request from the monk dean to investigate reports from villagers that the temple had used temple lands to construct residential homes for the poor.

The monk dean had already ordered the dismissal of the abbot of Wat Cherng Trae temple so that the investigation can go ahead unhindered.

The furore arose because the temple had a large vacant plot which they had earlier allowed local villagers to grow crops and reside on while remaining portions were leased out.

However, at yesterday’s investigation the former abbot said the temple had plans to use the vacant plot to construct welfare lodgings for the homeless and a Dhamma study and children development center which created ill-feelings from the earlier tenants who found that they were being evicted.

An official investigation has been ordered into the matter and should be concluded within 7 days.

 

28 Jun 2017
11:05 am

The Counter Corruption Division (CCD) police have detected another unethical conduct of state officials entrusted with position of authority in monastic affairs after they conducted deeper investigation into corruption of state subsidies for temples across the country.

CCD investigators discovered the new type of dishonest and unethical conduct by the same gang as they expanded probe into a further 20 temples throughout the country.

The new type of corruption involved funds set aside for the promotion of Buddhism as well as funds for promotion of Buddhism education.

CCD commander Pol Maj Gen Kamol Rienracha said monastic subsidies set aside for Buddhist temples all over the country in 2016 amounted to 4.671 billion baht.

He said investigators have now uncovered that the corruption involved not only the 12 initial temples but were widespread and involved many other temples all over the country.

He confirmed that the investigation was being handled in a deliberate and professional manner and had found that in most cases abbots and monks were the unwitting victims taken advantage by corrupt state officials entrusted with position of authority in monastic affairs.

This however does not exclude the possibility that some monks may actually be complicit in the corruption and if any monk is found to have played a part in the misappropriation of funds then immediate action will be taken, he said.

He went on saying that investigators were finding more and more suspects connected to the case.

The suspects arrested earlier have already had charges filed and would be prosecuted, he said.

He said the next move would be focused on a further 20 temples all over the country excluding those in the 5 southern provinces.

He said in most case investigators have found that monks have been used as tools by corrupt officials from the National Office of Buddhism.

 

 

27 Jun 2017
11:54 pm

Thailand is still kept in the Tier 2 watch list of the 2017 TIP report by the US State Department for the second consecutive year because the government has not fully met the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking although it has been making significant efforts to do so.

According to the TIP report, the Thai government has demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by seizing 784 million baht from traffickers, reporting more investigations, prosecutions, and convictions, convicting a business owner complicit in forced labor in fishing sector, and extending the amount of time foreign trafficking victims and witnesses may be permitted to stay and work in Thailand.

The government continued to increase dedicated anti-trafficking resources and approved a policy to allow hiring of foreign nationals as interpreters in order to increase the number of available interpreters for labor inspections and interviews.

The government also implemented new guidelines to improve victim identification process used by multidisciplinary teams and provided numerous anti-trafficking trainings for government officials.

However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, and although forced labor investigations slightly increased, the number of labor trafficking investigations was low compared to the scale of the problem, said the TIP report.

The TIP report made several recommendations for Thailand which include, among others, proactive investigation and prosecution of officials involved in human trafficking; proactive law enforcement; providing witness protection services and providing foreign trafficking victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries in which they would face retribution or hardship.

 

27 Jun 2017
10:47 pm

The State Railway of Thailand has ordered a delay in the payment of one month’s overtime claims amounting to over 100,000 baht to a station master pending a thorough check of the extra payment.

Many netizens have expressed doubt about the huge overtime claims of a station master in Pattani for the month of May when details of the claim were posted in the social media.

Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akarathit who oversees the SRT admitted on Tuesday that when he saw the overtime claim details he felt they were quite weird and ordered the SRT board to look into the matter.

He said he would like to know whether the claims in question were reasonable or not or whether there was any irregularity.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit said that this was an internal affairs that the SRT had to manage and settle.

SRT deputy governor Thanongsak Pongprasert insisted that the case had nothing to do with corruption, but admitted that there was misunderstanding about details of the overtime claims.

According to the overtime claims form posted in the social media, the station master claimed 102,271 baht in overtime pay for having worked 401 hours in overtime. Based on his basic monthly salary of 61,210 baht, he was entitled to an overtime pay of 255 baht per hour.

Mr Araya Pinthadit, director for train operations, explained that the station master whose name was withheld worked every day throughout May because he had to oversee the maintenance of rail track in the three southernmost provinces.

Because of security threats in the restive Deep South, he said that only one station master was assigned by the SRT to oversee train operations in the region.

 

27 Jun 2017
6:56 pm

The Appeals Court has upheld the two-year imprisonment handed down by the Chian Mai Provincial Court on a woman found guilty of drink driving, causing death to three cyclists in Chiang Mai about two years ago.

The Appeals Court’s verdict was read by the Chiang Mai provincial court on Tuesday in the presence of the defendant, 24-year old Ms Patchuda Jairuan and relatives of the three victims.

Besides upholding the two-year jailterm, the Appeals Court also ordered the defendant to pay 2.3 million baht compensation instead of 1.7 million baht to the family of Mr Samarn Kantha, one of the three victims and 1.2 milllion baht each to families of the two other victims, Mr Pongthep Kamkaew and Mr Chaiwat Yonglun.

Apparently drunk, Ms Patchuda rammed her car into a group of cyclists as they were travelling on Chiang Mai-Doi Saket highway in Doi Saket district.

After the reading of the verdict, Ms Kongkarn Yonglun, daughter of Mr Chaiwat, told the media that she felt the jailterm given to the culprit was too lenient, complaining that the culprit had never offered an apology to the families of the dead victims.

 

27 Jun 2017
6:12 pm

The Office of the Secretary-General of the Cabinet on Tuesday issued a statement denying a report that the government has announced five public holidays during the Royal cremation of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in October.

According to the statement, the cabinet at its meeting on April 25 agreed that Thursday October 26 which was scheduled as date for the Royal cremation would be announced a public holiday.

The widely-circulated report of five public holidays is not true, said the statement.

 

27 Jun 2017
5:50 pm

The Nakhon Ratchasima chamber of commerce has wanted the dual-track train project which goes through the provincial townseat to be elevated like the one in Khon Kaen province instead of the rail track on the ground and surrounded by barriers on both sides.

A petition demanding the State Railway of Thailand and the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning to reconsider the design of the project specifically for the section which passes through the Nakhon Ratchasima townseat was addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha. It was handed over to Lt-Gen Vichai Saejorhor, commander of the Second Army Region, by the chamber president Mr Chatchavan Wongjorn and executives of the chamber on Tuesday.

Mr Vichai pointed out that the barriers which are to be built along both sides of the rail track which goes through the townseat would cut the town into two sections, causing inconvenience for the residents to travel from one side of the barrier to the other side.

The petition will be sent to the prime minister for consideration.

 

27 Jun 2017
2:44 pm

The abbot of Wat Phanunchoeng in Ayutthaya today denied having any involvement in the misappropriation of the 13 million baht state subsidy after it is among 12 temples that received the funds and is being questioned by Counter Corruption Division police.

In defending his innocence, the abbot was ready to cooperate with the police to probe into the scandal, said Mr Somsak Thoraksa, the lawyer of the temple.

According to the abbot’s disclosure, Mr Somsak said the temple did not request any subsidy from the Office of the National Buddhism.

It was approached and offered 10 million baht by the office’s director of Buddhism Affairs Ms Pranom Kongpikul in 2014 and 5 million baht in 2015.

At that time the temple was in need of funds to renovate and construct more buildings.

However in the first offer, the abbot was told to transfer 8 million baht to an account of a woman by the name of Mrs Chompunut Chanruchai.

At first when the money was transferred to the temple’s account, the abbot instead asked her if the money was clean, and was assured that it was clean, the lawyer said.

She even claimed the money would be used to help other rural temples that were in need.

In the second offer, she asked that 2 million baht be transferred back to her account.

The lawyer said the abbot insisted of his innocence, not knowing of any irregularity in spending the state subsidies.

The abbot has filed a complaint with the police accusing the director of fraud, the lawyer added.

 

 

 

 

27 Jun 2017
2:25 pm

The Social Security Office (SSO) is now considering to amend the current social security law that will see the extension of the eligible age for people to collect the old-age pension from 55 to 60.

The extension will enable insured workers to remain in the workforce until 60 years-old.

SSO secretary general Dr Suradech Waleeitthikul said the amendment of the law was instructed by the Labour Minister Gen Sirichai Distakul as he saw this would boost life stability for people while working and in retirement.

This was in line with the policy of the government to support the ageing society.

He said the extension requires an amendment to the Social Security Act 1990.

He added that the SSO is conducting a feasibility study and will be presenting to the minister soon.